Fix Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) Automatic Update Problem

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Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) is the Microsoft’s answer to the paid antivirus, anti-spyware programs that fights against viruses, spywares, malwares, malicious codes to protect Windows systems. Microsoft released MSE (earlier known as Morro antivirus) as a free download to genuine Windows users. By default, MSE is designed to get it’s virus database updated daily so that user’s system stays protected against any new threats, but in few cases Microsoft Security Essentials does not update automatically as it fails to work with it’s update schedule.

By default MSE checks for new updates in every 24 hours interval and it also checks in every 15 minutes or so or even after system boot if the current update is greater than 24 hours. After gathering these informations, MSE connects to the Microsoft server to download new updates. If you have configured your system to go into sleep mode, standby, or hibernation after a interval of inactivity, MSE will miss the scheduled update.

Microsoft Security Essentials

Microsoft Security Essentials

However, Microsoft Security Essentials window displays the virus database as updated, even if you don’t update it frequently. If MSE does not get updated regularly, your system stays open to harmful scripts, virus, malwares threats. This bug has already been notified to Microsoft and they are currently working on a patch to fix this, but until they release the patch, you can follow the following easy steps to get MSE updated frequently.

1. Check if Automatic Updates service (wuauserv) is Enabled

This is very important to set Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) to get updated regularly. The updation depends on Automatic Update service (wuauserv) and Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS). Navigate to Control Panel >> Administrator Tools >> Services and check if wuauserv and BITS are running properly.

2. Update Microsoft Security Essentials Manually

You can also update MSE database manually by heading to Update tab >> Update button and force MSE to check for updates manually.

MSE manual update

3. Force MSE to Get Updated Before Running Scheduled Scan

If MSE does not get updated regularly or in every 24 hours, you can try this workaround to force it to check for new available updates. First you need to turn scheduled scanning features on (Settings tab >> Scheduled Scan). Once scheduled scan feature is enabled, check the checkbox saying “Check for the latest virus and spyware definitions before running a scheduled scan option“.

MSE update before scan

4. Download Latest Microsoft Security Essentials Offline Updates

If MSE is not being able to download updates, you can download offline updates pack and install the same on your system. Simply visit Microsoft Malware Protection Center and download the updates pack. You can install those updates on any computer, even if there is no internet connection.

Soumya is the admin and founder of Techcular. He loves to discover and learn new things on Internet. You can find him writing on his personal blog few times.

2 Comments to Fix Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) Automatic Update Problem

  1. Here is a work-around if you are willing to go this route: Use a task scheduler like Solway's, (I like this one), to schedule incremental pop-up reminders from a word processor file to update. Solway's Task Scheduler gives you some good options for the time increment, like very 30 minutes or every hour. Since the pickens are small for quality FREE AntiVirus programs, and MSE comes out with more frequent updates that most other FREE real-time AV programs, I think this is a reasonable option. At least going this route will remind you incrementally to update so you won't forget.

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